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A Private Chef to the Stars Tells All: The Producer With Penguins, Teenage Millionaires, and More

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Here now, a private chef to the stars on what it's like to cook for the Whales of Hollywood. Anonymous, of course:

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[Photos: Juan Camilo Bernal/Shutterstock; Lev Dolgachov/Shutterstock]

At what point does money drive you crazy? When do you have so much that nothing seems impossible? Nothing is beyond asking for. Some people — always a part of the upper 1% — really do inhabit that place of pure eccentricity. And the best part? They have no idea how utterly bonkers they are. And that's cool. And the more you spend it, the better. Let's keep the economy going!

If you had all the money in the world, would you think twice of asking someone to do whatever popped into your head? Of course you wouldn't And why should you. It's your money after all. (This of course, is excluding dictators, despots, and the truly exploitative. Yeah, they're out there, but that isn't who we're looking at today.)

If you are looking for work as a private chef to one of these rare creatures, we have some insights. Just keep in mind, there is nothing weirder than having to list everything you like and don't like to eat to a new person. It's odd. So a zillion prying questions about everything, from what do you eat for breakfast to what do you order off of a menu, are all fair game. But even that doesn't help with the crazies?

Take for instance, the Producer. He made big, big films. Films that you've seen and your parents have too. He lived in the requisite large house, with views and wings and who knows what all. The best part? He worked with a zoo and built a penguin habitat that held about 30 birds and other assorted flora and fauna. Yup, the dude was so wealthy, he had exotic animals in a frozen cage in his house. And because he really, really loved those tuxedoed buggers, he decided to sympathetically only eat fish for the first few months he had them. So, every dish he was served had to be penguin-friendly as well. How could that possibly be a problem? Well?two seconds of research will tell you penguins eat something called krill and a whole lot of squid. They also don't eat cooked food, so things got a bit awkward after three meals of cephalopod sushi. Needless to say, that plan — thankfully — didn't last long. The penguins on the other hand, lived a pretty awesome (if not caged) life for about a year before his daughter started protesting. They went back to the zoo and the room was converted to a tropical waterfall. The producer has since been seen eating pizza at Mozza.

The most baffling and utterly amusing private chef jobs are for the people who can't quite figure out why they have a chef in the first place. They eat out all the time, and when they are home, they want burgers, pizza and maybe soup. This group can also be called the teenage-millionaire. They're amazing. Four a.m.? I need roast beef sandwiches for the 40 people I brought home from the club! Noon? I want you to make In-N-Out for me, exactly the way they do at In-N-Out. (Which leads to five minutes of seriously contemplating buying the food and re-plating it. Because?.um?.duh.) The whole thing gets a bit sad when they invite you to dinner under the guise they want you to know what the food tastes like, but in reality they are lonely little kids who look at their chef as a food mentor. Kinda melts the heart.

That said, there is one better person to cook for than the teenaged millionaire. And that's the client who actually loves food and loves cooking and are for sure some of the coolest people alive. They don't just want dinner on the table – or the Mega Mass 2000 shake on the breakfast table – they want to spend hours poring over cookbooks and blogs, picking what you're going to make for them. Then they buy the most expensive, beautiful ingredients and chat with you while you cook. It's not so much domestic labor as it is being the star of your own cooking show, where you never know what you're making that night. The only part that is tricky is that if it's a woman, she is always going to look incredible, making you feel like a bit of a schlub in your double-breasted white polyester chef coat. Oh well.

The one you want to avoid is the partner of the actor or rock star. For some reason they always act as if they are starring in the Real Housewives franchise. One that we had the great displeasure of working for would demand all of her food be beige, except on Tuesdays when it had to all be green. She was also allergic to wheat, rice, salt, soy and dairy, making the whole beige food thing a serious challenge. Which can be fun, with the right attitude, but also wears a bit thin after she sullenly pushes away yet another plate of food. The goal of the chef is to feed and nourish, not to make the client pouty.

Overall, people with beau-coup bucks are still just people. They just seem to have more allergies, more peccadilloes, and more time to spend at the gym. The nice part is, they pay you to cook, and that's pretty spectacular.

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